Lawmakers Announce Bipartisan Legislation To Reduce Ohio 'brain Drain'
Bill would improve student debt relief, keep recent STEM grads in-state
October 27, 2017
[ John Patterson Home | John Patterson Press ]

State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) today announced the introduction of House Bill 396, bipartisan legislation to create the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Degree Loan Repayment Program.

“The Ohio ‘brain drain’ is not a new issue,” said Patterson. “It is a known fact that for years, many STEM students who attend our universities leave Ohio upon graduation for better-paying jobs in other states. This legislation will help incentivize STEM specialists to stay in Ohio, fostering economic development that will benefit our students, our business community and our state as we strive to establish a workforce for the economy of the future.”

As the bill is currently written, eligible participants of the program would include Ohio college or university graduates from 2017 or later who hold an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree in a STEM-related field and are also employed in a STEM-related field in Ohio.

“This legislation addresses a convergence of two problems that are dramatically impacting Ohio’s economy: we are among the worst in the nation for student debt burden, and we continue to hear from the business community about Ohio’s lack of STEM-related skilled labor,” remarked Carfagna. “Ohio has the 10th highest average student debt, while our continued brain drain of STEM talent continues to hamper Ohio employers’ ability to grow facilities and add workers. I’m eager to begin discussions on how we can best retain our skilled talent in a way that provides economic opportunities for our graduates, stimulates STEM entrepreneurship, and grows emerging technology sectors right here in Ohio.”

Under HB 396, the Ohio Department of Higher Education would repay program participants’ student loans by making direct payments to their loan companies. The annual award amounts under the program would be as follows: $2,000 for Associate’s degrees, $4,000 for Bachelor’s degrees, and $8,000 for Master’s degrees and PhDs. Eligible participants could remain in the program for up to five years.

HB 396 has yet to be assigned to a committee.

Featured Posts

Rep. Patterson Announces Tyler's Law Signed Into Law In Ohio


State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Louis Blessing (R-Colerain Township) today announced Gov. Mike DeWine’s signing of House Bill (HB) 189 titled “Tyler’s Law,” bipartisan legislation that increases Ohio amusement ride safety and inspection standards, qualifications of inspectors and responsibilities of ride owners.


With Fair Season In Full Swing, Amusement Ride Safety Protections Linger At Ohio Statehouse


As summer heats up and families flock to fairs and festivals, including the Ohio State Fair which opened this week, beefed up safety standards for amusement rides sit dormant in the Ohio House.

After last year’s Fireball amusement ride failure at the Ohio State Fair tragically claimed the life of Tyler Jarrell and sent seven others to the hospital with serious injuries, state Rep. John Patterson’s (D-Jefferson) attention turned to ensuring such a tragedy never takes place in Ohio again.


Crucial Consumer Protections Headed To Governor's Desk, Says Patterson


State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 123, a bipartisan effort to enact consumer protections for the thousands of Ohioans who utilize short-term loans every day. Borrowers in Ohio currently pay some of the highest rates in the nation for payday loans, with estimated average interest rates at over 500 percent. 


Rep. Patterson Applauds Passage Of Bipartisan Lake Erie Funding Bill


State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today applauded the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 299, the companion bill to Patterson’s House Bill 643, the Ohio Clean lake 2020 Plan. Joint-sponsored with state Rep. Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton), the bipartisan legislation invests $36 million in efforts to tackle the issue of harmful algal blooms and create innovative programs to clean up Lake Erie.